Seahawks down Panthers 2-0

Neal earns first home win as UNCW head coach


Genevieve Guenther

Brandon Sans, Sports Editor

UNC Wilmington women’s soccer kicked off its 2018 home schedule with a 2-0 victory over High Point on Sunday afternoon at UNCW Soccer Stadium.

It was an important first win for the Seahawks (2-0) who have posted winning home records in six straight seasons including a 5-4-1 mark on their home field last season.

Neal wins UNCW Soccer Stadium debut

The Seahawks won their first game under coach Chris Neal last Friday at Virginia Commonwealth but understood the connection between Neal and his alma mater.

“It was really important to us,” said redshirt junior Kirsten Bootes. “We’ve been through a lot together. This was our first chance to show ourselves and prove to ourselves we can be a good team.”

The match marked Neal’s return to the UNCW sideline for the first time since he was an assistant coach from 2001-2007.

Seahawks ready to soar

With one true senior on the roster, the Seahawks needed multiple underclassmen to take on significant roles. They appear ready for the challenge two games in.

Sophomore Grace Bondurant scored her first career goal after attempting one shot her freshman year. Bondurant was assisted by fellow sophomore Molly McGarry, last year’s leading scorer with five goals.

Bootes added her second goal in as many games to solidify a first-half lead it never surrendered.

“I feel the older you get, the more you want to be a team player,” said Bootes. “That’s where I’m at right now.”

22 of the Seahawk roster’s 28 players played in the victory over the Panthers, a trend that continued from its season-opener against VCU.

“[Depth] is a huge asset,” said Neal. “We’ve got to have stamina. A lot of coaches use a significant amount of bodies because we’re trying to figure out who we can count on come conference play.”

Broderick and Schneider split goalkeeper duties

After sophomore Sydney Schneider became the second Seahawk goalkeeper to play every minute in a season in UNCW history, Neal opted to split goaltender duties between Schneider and redshirt senior Caitie Broderick to begin the season.

Schneider will miss the next four games due to her participation with Jamaica’s international U-20 team. It was important to get Broderick game reps in anticipation of Schneider’s absence.

“As long as we’re winning I won’t change much,” said Neal.

Up next the UNCW will return to the state of Virginia for the third time this year to face Virginia Tech on Friday.